Simple Steps To Better Dental Health
space placeholder
Featuring consumer information from Columbia School of Dental & Oral Surgery
Oral Health Made Simple: Your Prescription For Knowledge
Small BoxAll About Cavities
Small BoxBrushing and Flossing
Small BoxFluoride
Small BoxMouth-Healthy Eating
Small BoxSealants
Small BoxTaking Care of Your Teeth
Small BoxTobacco
Small BoxYour Dental Visit
Small BoxMORE
Small BoxBad Breath
Small BoxCavities
Small BoxCold Sores
Small BoxDry Mouth
Small BoxImpacted Tooth
Small BoxSensitive Teeth
Small BoxTMJ
Small BoxTooth Discoloration
Small BoxMORE
Small BoxCrowns
Small BoxDentures
Small BoxFillings: The Basics
Small BoxGum Surgery
Small BoxImplants
Small BoxRoot Canal Treatment
Small BoxScaling and Root Planing
Small BoxWhitening
Small BoxMORE
Small BoxControlling Pain
Small BoxCosmetic Dentistry
Small BoxEmergencies
Small BoxFill, Repair, Replace
Small BoxKids And Teens
Small BoxOral Health and Your Body
Small BoxOrthodontics
Small BoxPeriodontics
Small BoxSeniors
Small BoxMORE
Step 1 Prevent ProblemsSimplestepsPrevent Problems
Step 2 Understand ConditionsSimplestepsUnderstand Conditions
Step 3 Explore TreatmentsSimplestepsExplore Treatments

go to Interactive Tools go to Parents' Guide go to Dental Drugs go to Ask The Dentist

graphic for Dental News showing newspaper

Fighting Tooth Decay with Probiotics
August 10, 2011

By Nancy Volkers
InteliHealth News Service

INTELIHEALTH - A daily dose of "good" bacteria might help kids fight tooth decay, say Indian researchers.

The researchers did a study of 150 children. All were between the ages of 7 and 14. They were randomly assigned to one of three groups. The children in each group received a powder that had to be mixed with 20 milliliters of water. Then they swished that solution in their mouths and swallowed it. They did this once a day for 14 days.

One group's powder contained no active ingredients. This was the control group. The second group's powder contained two species of probiotics, or bacteria that can promote health. The probiotics that were combined in the second group included Lactobacillus rhamnosus, a commercially available probiotic, and Bifidobacterium, a probiotic used in the food industry. The third group's powder contained Bacillus coagulans, which is also used as a probiotic.

The children were tested for levels of Streptococcus mutans both before and after the study. This species of bacteria causes tooth decay.

Both of the groups receiving probiotic powders had large reductions in the numbers of S. mutans compared with the group that did not receive any probiotic supplements.

Several studies have examined whether probiotics could prevent tooth decay. But studies have had variable results. For example, Danish scientists completed a 2010 study of teenagers who drank milk with or without probiotics. In that study they used the same probiotic examined in the Indian study (L. rhamnosus). The probiotics did not change the types and amounts of other bacteria in the mouth, including S. mutans. In the Danish study, all of the teenagers already had tooth decay. The children in the Indian study were healthy.

The authors of the Indian study indicate that additional research is necessary to determine if probiotics would be of benefit in reducing the amount of cavities in children.

The Indian study appears in the August issue of the European Archives of Paediatric Dentistry.

printer friendly format option iconPrinter-friendly version     
printer friendly format option iconPrinter-friendly version
Powered by Aetna Dental Plans

© 2002-2016 Aetna, Inc. All rights reserved. All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues and consult your physician before starting a new fitness regimen. Use of this online service is subject to the disclaimer and the terms and conditions. External website links provided on this site are meant for convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement. These external links open in a different window.